Women’s World Cup Video update: USWNT star Abby Wambach tells NBC News that playing on artificial turf in Canada is a “nightmare”

The pretournament fears of USWNT stars have come true, according to an NBC News report:

“All the tournament’s fields — six surfaces in six cities — are made of turf. Wambach and players from Germany, Brazil and Spain filed a lawsuit in Canada last year that demanded FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association install natural grass in the arenas, but the players said they dropped the suit earlier this year because they had filed it too late and FIFA wouldn’t budge.

“Professional sports like baseball and football are played on forms of turf, and it has also been installed in thousands of playgrounds. In a series of on-air and on-line reports, NBC News investigated the safety of artificial “crumb rubber” turf, and whether the playing surface, which is made of recycled tires, has been adequately tested. A soccer coach in Seattle has been collecting anecdotal information about goalies and other players who played on the surface and now have various forms of cancer, but no research has linked turf to cancer or any other disease.

Turf fields are also much hotter than natural grass fields. The surface at this Saturday’s cup opener in Edmonton, in which Canada beat China 1-0, reportedly reached 120 degrees an hour before kickoff. At Sunday’s games in Ottawa, the field temperature reached 130 degrees.

Wambach calls turf a “gender issue through and through,” and embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who announced his resignation last week, has made controversial comments about female players in the past. He once suggested female soccer players wear “tighter shorts.”

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Five cool places to watch the UEFA Champions League Cup Final Saturday between Barcelona and Juventus in Los Angeles


*Alpine Village near Torrance:


*Guinness will host a watch part at Hennessey’s Tavern in Hermosa Beach on Pier Plaza. There will be International Champions Cup ticket giveaways, swag and specials on select Guinness drinks.

*Cock ‘n” bull Pub, Santa Monica.

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All the goals from Santos’ 5-0 trashing of Queretaro in first leg of Liga MX finals

Javier "Chuletita" Orozco celebrates scoring goal in first leg of Liga MX final. (Photo Credit: Club Santos Twitter)

Javier “Chuletita” Orozco celebrates scoring goal in first leg of Liga MX final. (Photo Credit: Club Santos Twitter)

This is how you become an overnight sensation.

Javier “Chuletita” Orozco scored four goals for Club Santos Laguna Thursday night in the first leg of the Liga MX finals. Orozco, who had bagged a hat-trick by halftime, led los guerreros past Queretaro 5-0 at home. Here are all of the game’s goals and highlights.

Orozco’s first goal came five minutes into the final…

His second came in the 26th minute…

The hat-trick came in the 33rd minute..

Queretaro clearly didn’t get the message at halftime to cover this guy…

“El Pulpo” Diego Gonzalez gave Orozco a break and scored the fifth goal…

You can watch all the highlights, courtesy of Azteca America, here…

There is still another game to be played, Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Queretaro’s home stadium. But is this one over or can Queretaro come back?

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Why Ronaldinho may not play in Queretaro’s Liga MX finals against Santos

Queretaro's Ronaldinho warms up on the sidelines during a Mexican soccer league semi-final match against Pachuca in Queretaro, Sunday, May 24, 2015 (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Queretaro’s Ronaldinho warms up on the sidelines during a Mexican soccer league semi-final match against Pachuca in Queretaro, Sunday, May 24, 2015 (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Ronaldinho is a football icon. He’s appeared in Nike commercials, graced the cover of FIFA video games, won the World Cup and has been named FIFA Player of the Year twice.

But that means nada to Queretaro head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich.

Ronaldinho, 35, has been playing for Querataro the past two seasons. Vucetich joined the club midway through this season and lead Los Gallos Blancos to their first Liga MX finals in club history. The former Barcelona man should be a hero in the small state for leading the team to such heights, but he is not.

Ronaldinho, easily the most recognizable name in Mexico’s finals this wek, may not even play Thursday in the first leg of the series against Santos Laguna (6:30 p.m., Azteca America).

That’s because Ronaldinho’s tumultuous time in Mexico hit a boiling point last week during the first leg of the semifinals. After being subbed out just before halftime, Ronaldinho left the stadium before the game was over. He apologized to the club and its fans the next day.

Vucetich called the switch a “tactical” move. “We couldn’t give anything away [down 2-0]. The fact they didn’t score (another goal) allows us to be alive in the series.”

Vucetich, who is in his seventh Liga MX finals, was right.

With Ronaldinho on the bench, Queretaro went on to win the second leg 2-0  to advance to the finals. The series-winning goal was scored by former Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein’s in the second half.

Nicknamed King Midas for taking struggling clubs and turning them into champions, leading Queretaro to the finals could be Vucetich’s best job as a coach to date.

Reports in Mexico indicate Ronaldinho’s time with Queretaro is over and that player and club have agreed to go their separate ways at the end of the season. He did travel with to Torreon, but most soccer pundits south of the border find it unlikely that the two-time player of the year starts tonight’s game.

However the guessing continues: Will he start on the bench or on field?

Throw-Ins About 2015 Clausura Liga MX Final:

– The final features the sixth seed against the eight seed in la liguilla. Santos was the eight seed; Queretaro the sixth.

– Other notable players (not named Ronaldinho) in the finals: Bornstein, Ricardo Osorio and Sinha for Queretaro; Goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin, Carlos Isquierdoz and Javier Orozco for Santos.

– The coaches: Santos’ Pedro Caixinha of Portugal is in his first final with Santos after reaching losing in the semifinals three times; Vucetich, a former head coach of Mexico’s national team, is in his seventh final and has only lost once before, to Santos in 2012.

– If you don’t speak Spanish but want to keep up with the final, follow Santos’ English-language twitter account @ClubSantosEn, which is managed by an American living in Mexico.

– Second leg of finals is Sunday in Queretaro at 6:30 p.m. on Azteca America.

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10 Front Pages about FIFA corruption scandal from around the world

FIFA’s corruption probe is top news all around the world, with some calling it the biggest sports scandal ever.

To give you a sense of what people are saying, here are the covers for 10 newspapers from around the world, including one very dramatic illustration from Uruguay’s El Observador.

England, The Independet — “The Shame Game”:
Mexico, La Prensa — “Dirty Game”:
France, Liberation — “FIFA Nostra”
Honduras, El Diez — “FIFA’s wake up call”
U.S. The Washington Post — “The Beautiful Dirty Game”
Austria, Kleine Zeitung — “The corrupt game”
Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport — “The Raid”
Brazil, Lance — “Goal for FBI”
Venezuela, Lider — “Dirty Game”
Uruguay, El Observador — “Theft in football”

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EPL Weekend TV Preview: Chelsea could clinch the title against Crystal Palace at 5:30 a.m. Sunday live on NBCSN


Thirteen points clear of second-place Manchester City, Chelsea could win their fourth EPL title this weekend against Crystal Palace, sitting 12th in the table.

Palace haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in 33 years.

A comprehensive guide to all the EPL games this weekend is here.

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Hermosa Beach resident and USWNT star Abby Wambach named to 25th annual Time 100

wambachTimeless Performer: Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach was named to the Time magazine list of the world’s 100 most influential people (Associated Press Photo).

See the complete Time 100 here.

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Dismally disjointed LA Galaxy lay egg in Vancouver as Whitecaps top MLS with 2-0 win

With the 2-0 road loss to Vancouver Saturday, the Galaxy are now winless in their last three games and are already beginning to lose touch with the leading MLS teams in the young season. Next for the Galaxy: 4 p.m. Sunday against the Seattle Sounders at StubHub Center.


“They were the better team all night, they outplayed us the entire match,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Personally every player can look at their performance and make sure it doesn’t happen again…We didn’t do anything well tonight, no excuses.”


Despite making five changes to the starting XI, the Galaxy lost their ninth straight road game.

Tweet Time:

Bottom Line:

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Video: Robbie Keane of LA Galaxy gives a passionate explanation of his MLS fine for “unprofessional conduct.”

You watch Robbie Keane on the soccer field and you’re not going to find a more intense competitor.

His goading of teammates, his pleading to referees, his eagerness to get in the face of opponents rubs more than a few the wrong way.

He must have been itching to start the season last week because the Galaxy’s 2-0 win over Chicago, Keane was in midseason form. It culminated in his celebration after scoring the second goal and the MLS lip-readers were on the spot to fine him for “unprofessional conduct.”

Keane explained it all Thursday after practice:

“Ah, nothing. Passion. I’m a passionate guy,” Keane said. “I like to win all the time.”

Earlier in the game, he appeared to upbraid teammate Stefan Ishizaki for a build-up gone awry.

“If you don’t play with passion, which I’ve always done since I’ve been here, that’s the way I play,” Keane said. “That’s the way I get the best out of myself and get the best out of players.
“One million percent it wasn’t (directed) at the fans. You can’t just speculate if you don’t know. It’s not a big deal. I’m expecting a fine. It’s no problem.”

It’s what helped drive Keane to score 19 goals, dish out 14 assists and win the MLS MVP award in 2014. Oh, and help his club capture its third MLS Cup in four years.

“Passion,” Keane said. “I want to win all the time. I want to be better. I do a lot of things to get people going in a different way. It’s my way of doing things. I do it on the training field, I do it on the field. I’ll always continue to do it. There’s other things you won’t see that I do all the time. Sometimes it’s to get people going, to get a reaction from other people. It’s about caring about what you do.
“If it’s going to make us a better team, than the job’s done.”

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